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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Watchtower of Belapur fort collapses amid heavy showers

The debris of the wall of the fort's watchtower that collapsed fell on a passing Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport bus, damaging it and injuring a woman passenger.

Written by Vallabh Ozarkar | Mumbai |
Updated: June 13, 2021 11:45:58 pm
The debris of the wall of the fort’s watchtower collapsed on a bus, injuring a woman passenger. (Express)

A major part of the historic Belapur fort in Navi Mumbai collapsed due to the heavy rain that lashed the city on Saturday.

The debris of the wall of the fort’s watchtower that collapsed fell on a passing Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport bus, damaging it and injuring a woman passenger. She was rushed to a hospital and was discharged after the being administered first aid.

According to the disaster management cell of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), the incident took place around 1 pm when due to wind storm and heavy rain, the wall of the watchtower – situated in front of NMMC building in Belapur area of the city – came crashing down.

According to the police, local residents saw the walls shake and had heard rumblings from the fort earlier in the day.

An official said, the fort was in precarious condition and hence, preservation and repair work was started in 2019. The collapsed portion had been scaffolded for the repair work, but video footage that captured the sudden collapse show the debris fell over the scaffolding and on to the road.

According to sources, a contract of Rs 17 crore was given by City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to carry out repair and construction work of the fort, however, work was going on at a very slow pace.

The fort was constructed by Abyssinian descended Sidi rulers of Janjira on the Konkan coast in 1560. The Portuguese conquered the area more than a century later. In 1733, it changed hands to the Marathas, when Chimaji Appa, the brother Bajirao Peshwa, captured it from Portuguese. It was with the Marathas till 1817 before it was conquered by the British.

“The sudden collapse of Tehalani Burj (watch tower) of Belapur fort is an unfortunate incident. CIDCO’s VC and MD has taken serious cognizance of this incident. Chief vigilance officer of CIDCO visited the site along with the chief engineer and other concerned engineers. The VC and MD instructed to find out reasons behind the collapse and make necessary inquiries,” the CIDCO said in the statement.

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